Successful Gardening Tips for August/September

August and September are good months to take soil samples and submit them for analysis. Volume at the lab is low and turnaround time is quick.

Plants in Flower:
Crape Myrtle, Rose-of-Sharon, Peegee Hydrangea, Abelia, Canna, Dahlia, Trumpet Creeper, Cardinal Flower, Butterfly Weed, Phlox, Cleome, Hosta, Liriope and Summer Annuals.

What to Fertilize:

  • Strawberries will benefit from a feeding of nitrogen fertilizer this month. Do NOT fertilize shrubs in August, September, October or November.

What to Plant:

  • Spider lily (lycoris), colchicum(autumn crocus) and sternbergia bulbs should be planted in August.
  • Repot house plants as needed.
  • The following fall vegetable transplants can be set out: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and collards.
  • The following fall vegetables can be planted this month: beets, Chinese cabbage, cucumber, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard, radish, rutabaga, spinach, squash and turnip.

What to Prune:

  • Most pruning chores should be finished up by now. Try not to prune after the 15th of the month. New growth needs time to harden off for the cold weather to come.

Pest Outlook:

  • Check the following landscape shrubs for the following insect pests: arborvitae and juniper-spider mites, crape myrtle-aphids, azalea and pyracantha-lace bug.
  • Continue with weekly rose spray program.
  • Peach, nectarine and plum trees need a trunk spray or other treatment to repel adult peach tree borers.
  • Cherry laurel shrubbery, purple-leaf plum trees and ornamental cherry trees need a trunk spray or other treatment for protection against borers.
  • Be vigilant for fall vegetable insect damage and treat if needed. In particular: broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower-worms and squash-squash vine borers.
  • Continue regular sprays on bunch grapes and tree fruits.
  • Check red-tip photinia for leaf spot and spray if needed.
  • Control the following woody weeds by spraying them with the recommended herbicide: kudzu, trumpet creeper and wisteria.
  • The North Carolina Extension Service recommends that you use pesticides sparingly and only when needed.

    Lawn Care:

    • Treat lawn areas for grubs if needed. Use the recommended insecticides this month or a biological control in early October.
    • In late August, prepare areas for seeding cool season grasses such as tall fescue and tall fescue/bluegrass blends.
    • Most grasses require a soil pH of 6.0 - 6.5 for best nutrient uptake.
    • Fertilize warm season grasses (St. Augustine, centipede, zoysia and Bermudagrass) for the last time this season.


    • Cuttings of your favorite shrubs can still be taken in August.

    Specific Chores:

    • If you are planning to do some fall landscape planting, be sure you have a planting plan prepared.
    • Continue watering your favorite landscape plants and the vegetable garden if dry weather persists.
    • Construct of a leaf compost bin.
    • Cure Irish potatoes this month.
    • Thin Camellia japonica flower buds to one per stem, if more than one originates from the same point.





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